Gangs of New York
written by Jay Cocks, Steven Zaillian, & Kenneth Lonergan
Bill the Butcher: I can't sleep.
(Amsterdam casually covers Jenny's body, sleeping lying next to him.)
Amsterdam: I, uh, hope you don't mind us layin' out here tonight, sir.
Bill: Whatever takes your fancy, my young friend.
Amsterdam: Is it your, uh, shoulder that's keepin' you up?
Bill: Nah, I don't never sleep too much. Have to sleep with one eye open, and I only got one eye, right? (pause) How old are you, Amsterdam?
Amsterdam: I'm not too sure... never did figure it.
Bill: I'm forty-seven. Forty-seven years old. Do you know how I've stayed alive this long? All these years? Fear. The spectacle of fearsome acts. Someone steals from me, I cut off his hands. He offends me, I cut out his tongue. He rises against me, I cut off his head, and stick it on a pike. Raise it up high, so all in the streets can see. That's what preserves the order of things. Fear. That one tonight, who was he? A nobody. A coward. What an ignominious end that would have been. I killed the last honorable man fifteen years ago, since then it's just... you've seen his portrait downstairs? (pause, Amsterdam nods silently) Is your mouth all glued up with cunny juice? I asked you a question.
Amsterdam: (fiercely) I said I seen it, sir.
Bill: (smiling) Oh, you got a murderous rage in you and I like it. It's life boilin' up in you. It's good. (pause) The Priest and me, we lived by the same principles. It was only faith divided us. (indicating his facial scar) He give me this, you know. That was the finest beating I ever took. My face was pulp, my guts was pierced, my ribs was all mashed up. When he come to kill me, I couldn't look him in the eye. He spared me, because he wanted me to live in shame. This was a great man. A great man. So I cut out the eye that looked away, and sent it to him, wrapped in blue paper. I would have cut them both out if I could have fought him blind. Then I rose back up with a full heart and buried him in his own blood.
Amsterdam: Well done.
Bill: He was the only man I ever killed who was worth remembering. ... I never had a son. ... Civilization is crumbling. (Bill gets painfully up from his chair, kisses his hand and places it on Amsterdam's forehead) God bless you.
Kudos and much thanks go to Neil for this monologue, it is very much appreciated. Many thanks to Ian for vital corrections.
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